Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com

Ancestry Guide 2Expanded and updated, discover the secrets to Ancestry.com success! This book will help you get the most out of your Ancestry.com subscription by showing you how to take advantage of what the world’s biggest genealogy website has to offer–and how to find answers to your family tree questions within its billions of records and massive network of family trees. This newly updated guide reflects the site’s many changes, with screenshots that demonstrate how to create family trees, navigate the site, and use Ancestry.com’s search engines. A new section on AncestryDNA will also help you dive deeper into your research, with detailed guides to interpreting test results and applying them to research.

What you’ll learn:

  • Step-by-step strategies for structuring your searches to find what you’re looking for faster
  • Details on each of Ancestry.com’s historical record categories, including what you can expect to find in them
  • Tips for creating and managing your family tree on Ancestry.com, as well as connecting your tree to others on the site
  • Timesaving tricks to maximize your Ancestry.com experience, including Hints (the “shaky leaf”), AncestryDNA, and the Ancestry.com mobile app

Whether you’ve just begun dabbling in family history or you’re a longtime Ancestry.com subscriber, this book will turn you into an Ancestry.com power user!

Author: Nancy Hendrickson

Print: $21.59

Are You A Collaborator?

Are you taking advantage of the collaboration features offered by a growing number of online archives? Connecting with research cousins is a great way to share the “personal” resources that are seldom available from a genealogy archive. Instead of moaning when Ancestry’s shaky leaf leads you to another user’s family tree, take a look at that tree to see if that user is researching the same family you are and then check to see if that tree’s owner is a serious researcher or just someone collecting names. If a serious researcher, tap/click the person’s username and Ancestry will take you to a screen giving you basic information about that person. You’ll also see a Send Message icon that opens an in-house message panel so you can contact that user.

It’s surprising how much help a research cousin can be. Some time back, a shaky leaf led me to a portrait of my third great grandmother, Frances. I followed that source to the researcher to ask if I could save a copy of the portrait. We chatted for a while to determine how we were related. I descend from Frances’ youngest child, William, while she descends from Frances’ only daughter, Georgiana. Then the bomb dropped. Georgiana kept a diary most of her adult life. My new cousin not only had the diary, but she had transcribed it and published it as a Kindle book on Amazon. It was a goldmine of information about this family and explained several things that would never be found in an archive.

MyHeritage Screen

Ancestry isn’t the only service offering collaboration features. FamilySearch is collaborative by design. Your tree is not your own and you will quickly find other researchers posting information on your ancestors. There is an internal messaging system to connect and collaborate with them. When reviewing matches in MyHeritage, you will find other users sharing your ancestors. As you see in the image above, there is a contact button with each confirmed match allowing you to connect with that user. MyHeritage has also just announced a new Inbox feature on their mobile apps which works like an in-house email service making it even easier to communicate with other members.

Connecting with research cousins doesn’t just help your research effort. It gives you access to others who are just as passionate about their family research as you are. Yes, there will be sloppy researchers hoping you will do the work for them, but there are also researchers who will be delighted to find research cousins who want to learn more about their ancestors and share what they know.

You will soon find that collaboration can be a wonderful thing.